Westminster: Archibald Constable and Co., 1896-1911. Item #01809
"The Standard Edition"
Numbered and Initialed by George Meredith.
MEREDITH, George. The Works... Westminster: Archibald Constable and Co., 1896-1911.
[The Memorial edition], limited to 1025 copies, this being copy no. 527, numbered and initialed (GMM) by Meredith. Thirty-six octavo volumes (8 1/2 x 5 5/8 inches; 216 x 142 mm.). Frontispiece to first volume. Armorial bookplate of Louise G. Emmet on front pastedowns.
Contemporary three-quarter crimson morocco over red cloth boards ruled in gilt by Birdsall of Northampton (stamp-signed). Spines decoratively gilt in compartments, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers. Original cloth covers preserved at end. The mildest of wear. Occasional mild, scattered foxing. A handsome set.
"Ah, Meredith! Who can define him? His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning" (Oscar Wilde). His signature is extremely rare; lightning strikes this initialed set.
"The Memorial Edition of the Works of George Meredith... is the standard edition" (Encyclopedia Britannica).
Victorian novelist George Meredith's (1828-1909) writing was characterized by a fascination with imagery and indirect references. He had a keen understanding of comedy and his Essay on Comedy (1877) is still quoted in most discussions of the history of comic theory. In The Egoist, published in 1879, he applies some of his theories of comedy in one of his most enduring novels. Some of his writings, including The Egoist, also highlight the subjection of women during the Victorian period. During most of his career, he had difficulty achieving popular success. His first truly successful novel was Diana of the Crossways published in 1885. His first big novel, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, was judged so shocking that Mudie's circulating library canceled an order of 300 copies. Meredith was richly honored: he succeeded Lord Tennyson as president of the Society of Authors, and in 1905 he was appointed to the Order of Merit by King Edward VII.